- To say pensioners in most states of the federation are mostly not treated right is stating the obvious
- In Benue, the situation seems to be worse for the pensioners as they have since set up a coalition of aggrieved old people
- The pensioners say they have not been paid for 33 months despite claims by the state government to the contrary
Makurdi - The National Union Coalition of Aggrieved Pensioners in Benue has threatened to engage in massive protests that will shut down the state if the Samuel Ortom-led government fails to address the plight of its members.
Leadership newspaper quoted the chairman of the union, Comrade Akosu Orban, as saying out of the 33 months arrears owed pensioners in the state, only six months was inherited from the previous administration.
Reacting, Governor Samuel Ortom through his spokesman, Nathaniel Ikyur, said his government had an agreement with the leadership of the union who are also part of the monthly local government joint account and had been releasing N700 million to pensioners in the state monthly.
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“Out of this amount, N300 million is being paid to local government pensioners and the sum of N400 million to state pensioners.”
Responding, the union wondered how N700 million would be released by the state government monthly as claimed by the governor, yet the number of months owed them keeps rising.
They asked the government to probe the channel through which the money is released, saying it does not get to them.
The union said:
“Some of us have become beggars, scavengers, refugees, fugitives, and destitute. If this inhumanity to man meted to us persists, we may be forced or tempted to use our numerical strength and adopt a different strategy to our problem.”
Benue listed as one of the states that owe pensioners’ backlog of gratuities
At the time the report was released to the media, pensioners in the north-central state say they were owed 34 months pension arrears.
It was also revealed that local government pensioners were owed 72 months pension arrears in the state too.